Who Should Win the Awards This Year? You Decide… Voting Opens

The public voting opens today for the 2022 Herald Community Champion Awards.  Thanks to everyone who took the time to nominate the special people below.  Please vote for ONE person in EACH award. If you really can’t decide – click this box.  Then hit the VOTE button at the bottom.  You can only vote ONCE.  Voting closes on 30 November at 5pm. The winners will be announced at the Awards Party on Friday 3 February 2023 at Henley Rugby Club.  The party will be sponsored by Manning UK and will be raising money for Bluebells Day Centre.

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Charity Champion

Sponsored by Henley Self Storage

Gemma Birch
Gemma sprang into immediate action when news of the terrible situation in the Ukraine hit and launched MotherSisterDaughter, a charity for Ukrainian refugees in Henley. Gemma’s unrelenting hard work has meant families have been given new opportunities, met new friends and benefitted from the fundraising activity she has so thoughtfully set up. Gemma is an asset to our community and has changed the lives of many through her selfless and empathetic characteristics and incredible work ethic!

Piers Burnell
Piers has been heavily involved making a positive contribution to the community such as donating defibrillators to Market Place, Gillotts School and Leander Club but earlier this year he took it a step further by giving up a holiday to instead drive to Poland in his own car with donations raised in Henley of food, medical supplies, toiletries, inflatable mattresses and more for those affected by the war in Ukraine. Piers made contact with a charity called Humanitarian Aid for Ukraine in Poland via newspaper articles. He travelled through six countries within 48 hours covering 1700 miles in total.

Barbara Grimm
Barbara joined the Care4calais team in the wake of the Afghan evacuation. She heads up the family liaison team and has spent hours of her free time meeting newly arrived refugee families. This summer alone she registered over 80 children for school and college. But she also measured each of them for uniform and school shoes. Barbara’s dedication to helping the most vulnerable families is extraordinary. The charity regularly receive compliments from local schools, midwives and NGO’s praising the way Barbara goes above and beyond what might be expected. We are incredibly proud of her.

Andrew Huyton and Jessica Martin
Andrew and Jess took on a remarkable challenge to row the Thames from the source to Henley. This was to raise money for Autistic children to get support and their families. They were remarkable and completed the challenge despite the physical endurance. The amount of effort they put in was phenomenal! It was such hard work and they just kept going, even putting up tents in the dark as the days paddle took longer than anticipated. Jess is a caring and sensitive young girl she was very determined to complete the challenge to help her nephew and other young families with autism and didn’t moan or complain even when she was physically exhausted and her hands were wrinkled sore and freezing cold bearing in mind she was only 13 when she completed the challenge she showed grit and determination.

Sam Jonkers
Sam is the regional lead for Care4Calais and helps organise all the local volunteers, supporting a whole spectrum of activities with Refugees and Asylum seekers, from English lessons to getting children enrolled in local schools and providing them with uniform, to helping with essentials like toiletries and clothes and trying to arrange outings or sports clubs. She is amazing, shows so much compassion and empathy and does all this while trying to run a Henley business and look after her own family.

Laura Reineke

As the founder of Henley Music School, Laura has ensured that many hundreds of children and adults have experienced the joy of learning a musical instrument. Laura has raised more than £70,000 for charities over two years as captain of the Henley Mermaids. This year, she has swum the North Channel, the Bristol Channel and the length of the River Thames to raise money for Surfers Against Sewage. Next year, she will take on her biggest challenge yet when she swims the English Channel solo in aid of her new project - the Henley Community Hub.

The Hub, which will become a permanent home for Henley Music School, will house many other community groups and will bring Trinity Hall - an underused community asset - back into use for the people of Henley. Laura has endless energy and drive, she is totally dedicated to making Henley a better, fairer and lovelier place to live. She would be a very worthy winner of this award. 

Emma Jane Taylor
I have known E J for years but recently she has dedicated her time to raising money and awareness for children who have been sexually abused. As a victim herself she works tirelessly to ensure her voice is heard.

Charity Champion
Community Champion

Sponsored THP Solicitors

David Eggleton
Since the crisis/war in Ukraine Dave has worked tirelessly as well as trying to run his own business to raise donations to help the people of the Ukraine. For the first few months his work was put on hold and he was out collecting and sorting donations left at Henley Town Hall, Swiss Farm, Caversham Tiles and then finding people able to travel to Ukraine borders to pass on the medicinal, personal hygiene, baby items, clothing, dried foods, protein bars, tins of food to those on the frontline.  There were times people doubted the donations would get to where they should be and that it was all a waste of time donating but by god when he saw the photos from those running it out there and the delight on the faces of those who received the boxes and were then able to distribute to those in need was the most incredible feeling ever. Once Dave sets his heart on something he doesn’t give up or give in no matter what and is still doing what he can to help people in Ukraine.

Patrick Fleming
Patrick works tirelessly to undo the devastation to our global tree population, championing the replanting of woodlands, hedges and garden trees too. Patrick is a highly enthusiastic and knowledgeable public speaker to the cause too, and devotes so much of his time to Greener Henley initiatives. We need more Patricks in this world :)

Chris Furley
I would like to nominate Chris Henley’s mobile vet, who goes above and beyond to help injured animals and wildlife outside of his normal role. Only again tonight the Police & RSPCA refused to attend to a injured deer hit by a car, despite being 22.00 Chris still responded. I know of 2 occasions this year Chris has gone above and beyond I am sure there is many more. Thanks for being more than our Henley mobile vet! 

Lucie Henwood
Lucie Henwood spends many hours volunteering for the good of the community:
She was a trustee of the Henley Youth Festival for many years.
She is a trustee and producer of The Acorn Music Theatre Company spending many unpaid hours organising shows.
She plays with the Sam Brown ukulele orchestra raising money for charity.
She is a volunteer at the Kenton Theatre FOH team.
She sings with The Average Wife Band (for the Advent Calendar this year)
She helps with the Traditional Boat Rally.
And many other local community groups.
She is a tower of strength and loyalty.

Tim Prior
Tim has gone above and beyond with leading the team at Nomad over the years.

Tom Scott
He is an absolutely amazing tennis coach and human being. My kids just love him. Since Tom arrived at Henley Tennis Club only 2 years ago, he has not stopped in creating projects and ideas which benefit various areas of our community. He has raised over £3000 for Henley Nomad by donating 100% 1:1 coaching fees; provided 10 hours of free coaching to local schools (that’s over 350 of our children given free lessons!); given free tennis to children on Free School Meals; and is developing coaching to benefit the shops of Henley by encouraging people to join sessions over Christmas and shop in our town centre. Tom is always thinking of others, championing the Henley community and is a local celeb around town. The community that is created at the club is down to all of his hard work and effort. He’s full of ideas to support our community whether financially or with his own time and he gives it up selflessly.

Nicola Taylor
After working in Henley for 40+ years at Lawlors the bakers that unfortunately closed during Covid. And now has started her own baking business Nicola Baker Bakes and is now the president on the Henley WI and also working for Time for Tea. She was always been about Henley, supporting all local events. In particular Henley Living Advent which I don’t think she has missed many of their events! At every opportunity Nicola will use only local businesses and always seen with a smile. I believe Nicola should get the recognition she deserves after working in Henley for so many years, and always standing for what Henley is! 

Community Champion
Heart of Gold Neighbour

Sponsored by Meadow Farm Studio

We have only received 1 nomination for this so there will be no voting in this category.

The nomination will win the award.

Customer Service Champion

Sponsored by Brakspear

Leanne Dallarda - Gillotts Dinner Lady
Leanne really is the best dinner lady! She brings so much laughter and happiness to students and fellow co-workers. She never fails to have a smile on her face even after a long 14 years of the job. She definitely deserves some recognition for her powerful impact in the kitchen.

Lorna Dunlop – Henley Florist & Flower School
Lorna is an asset to the community and provides excellent customer service. She has wonderful empathy when it comes to choosing flowers for difficult occasions and is able to advise on the appropriate style and budget. Her displays outside the shop are amazing and nothing is too much trouble.

Adam and Rose Lubbock - ADVHQ Gym
I was lucky enough to join ADVHQ gym in January having moved to Henley without any roots here. The welcome I received and the environment that is created by Adam (Lubbs) and Rose is truly exceptional. The focus on healthy habits, fostering community and genuinely putting joy and energy into everything they do is single-to-none. I have found friends, encouragement and unexpected confidence. Loving what you do translates into incredible service and this is all that this incredible duo espouse. They give far beyond a simple gym service and have created a hub for connecting with others and prioritising mental and physical health. Henley is lucky to have them.

Laurence Morris – Laurence Menswear
I was recommended to go to Laurence for a present for my brother. Both Laurence and Alex were so helpful. They asked me all the right questions so they could get a clear idea as to what might be suitable. Nothing was too much trouble and the clothing they showed me was amazing. I ended up selecting a beautiful jumper and they said if there was any problem I could go back and change it. It is difficult to write in words but it is the best customer service I received in ages. I have no hesitation in nominating Laurence for an award.

Vince Riley - Waitrose

If Vince is on the checkout at Waitrose I like to go to him. Vince is polite, has impeccable manners and makes shopping a joy. Always helpful and gracious he is a role model for the younger team at Waitrose and much admired.

Eva & Graham Rickett – Henley Scan
Eva and Graham truly go out of their way to help people with their digital scanning business. They are always helping in the community and are a great asset to Henley. And always promoting all the businesses on the south side of town. Such a lovely couple. Definitely deserve this award. I haven’t read a bad review and everyone is always so complimentary.

Clare Stacey – Bunkers Opticians
I’ve been going to Bunkers opticians for years and am always greeted by Clare. She’s helpful, kind and will go above and beyond to ensure your experience as a customer is nothing but perfect.

Nick Totman – Whitehill Service Station

Nothing is too much trouble for Nick Totman. Service Manager at Whitehill Garage and has been offering customer service for 40 years! Polite, attentive, kind and super knowledgeable on all car engines, I don't know what we would do without Nick. He has got us out of many scrapes and is unflappable. I have pleasure in nominating him. 

Customer Service Champion
Top Teacher/TA

Sponsored by Southern Plant & Tool Hire

Mrs K Booth – Valley Road School
In one word, she is an excellent teacher. She always goes an extra mile to help children and parents. She always motivating them to work hard and makes subjects in an interesting way. We are very delighted having her again at Valley Road School. She really deserves it.

Sara Cattanach – Gillotts School

Sara goes above and beyond for SEN students. She gives them endless encouragement and resources for homework, recall and revision. She is also an inspirational colleague.

Claire Collyer – Gillotts School

Claire is a fantastic teacher and truly deserves to be recognised. She cares so much for the students and their families. Claire goes the extra mile (or two) for students and gives up so much of her own time and energy to provide amazing support. Claire is caring, compassionate and hugely dedicated to her role which is demanding and often challenging. She never complains and gives her heart and soul.

Claire Collyer is the most amazing SENDCO for Gillotts school, she supports her students and staff immensely, she has the biggest heart and cares so much for our young people with special educational needs.

Absolutely passionate about getting the best support for those students who need extra help at school. Genuinely cares about each individual, determined to get the best out of them, whatever their ability.  Also hugely supportive of her team of LSAs, kind, generous, and an all round superstar!

Susie Newman – Rupert House

Mrs Newman is such a caring and nurturing teacher. She loves the children and works really hard to get the best my outcomes for each child. She works so hard to create an engaging and fun classroom environment and we’re lucky to have had her as our son’s teacher.

Emma Steer – Rupert House
Emma stands out amongst many fantastic teachers and teaching assistants at Rupert House. Emma has been instrumental in the design and development of the Rupert House forest school. Her dedication to her teaching role and the care she shows to her young pupils (and their families) is exceptional. From the very beginning of their Reception year each child is treated as an individual and they very quickly develop a close bond with Emma due to her dedication, empathy and exceptional level of patience.

Not only does Emma assist her pupils in developing their academic potential but she has a real knack for appreciating their emotional needs. Emma sets her pupils out on the right path from the very start of their school journey. She is committed to their success and loves each of them as her own. This was particularly clear to us as parents to a child with a special need. Emma is very special to us all!

Gillotts LSA Team
My team of truly amazing LSAs deserve to be recognised for how utterly superb they are. They support students with compassion; aid teachers in a vast range of subjects and without them I wouldn't be able to coordinate the endless amount of support we provide. They are simply phenomenal! 

Top Teacher/TA
Young Sporting Superstar

Sponsored by IBS Office Solutions

Jess McDonagh - Football
Jess your inspiration towards the whole team and younger players you have got into football and some of the kids you have taught on field while kicking a ball around, you have always been so kind and caring and patient towards everyone you have tried teaching!

When you played for Henley you were always keeping the team up and going despite if you were losing always cheering the team on and giving everyone the chance to prove themselves! If someone did a mistake you will always encourage them to try and try again and thank you for that!

I have also never seen a such a player to be so determined to keep a team happy and be herself on pitch! You will go so far in football if you keep your head in the game like you always do! Never let anyone or anything stop you!!

Every time I watch this awesome person play football she always puts a smile on my face! She is determined to put a smile on everyone’s face no matter if it is on or off the pitch! She always encourages good sportsmanship and kindness around her she even helps out down Nomad for Christmas or even when they are struggling for a pair of hands!

You even offer your old boots to those who are struggling so they can play football (you have too many anyway!)  

Benjamin Palmer - Football

Ben has been the U16 hotspurs captain for 4 years. He’s a real team player and has earned lots of praise by coaches, parents and opponents parents. He loves football and being the captain means he has to be focused and organised, which he is. He has previously enjoyed helping to coach younger age groups, sharing his love and skills of football. 

Emily Simmons - Rowing
Emily lives in Nettlebed and during Covid attended Gillotts School.  Like many young students during lockdown going to school was extremely difficult and she was anxious about the prospect.  Her parents and family rallied round her to support Emily during these times.  Emily is also a member of Henley Rowing Club who were so supportive as her anxiety led to her being unable to get into a boat.  Despite and with the support of the coaches she found the courage to get back in the boat and face her demons.  Not only did she get back in the boat but with a massive team effort she rowed at the Ladies Regatta then at GB France Under 16.

Young Sporting Superstar
  1. Kathlene Williams says:

    Andrew Huyton and Jessica Martin, Such amazing Stamina for a 13 year old!! and what an amazing cause, Autism affects so many people in different ways

  2. Pennie Withers says:

    Eva and Graham provide such fantastic service – I have used them more than once and am always recommending them to my friends/clients

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